When backed by a solid family legacy, a passion for your craft, and a commitment to put your heart and soul into everything you do, you can find yourself at the top of your industry. That’s what happened for Gary Sands, one of the youngest leaders in the beverage industry in the world.
The Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company Ltd. smashed barriers when Gary took the helm as General Manager at the tender age of 27 back in 2017. Since then, he has led the increased production of the company’s locally-made brands with brews that consumers have come to love. Additionally, he has overseen the growth of the company’s distribution portfolio including Anheuser-Busch and most recently, Philip Morris International.
“I feel such a great sense of pride as I walk through our office every day knowing that we, Bahamians, are changing the beer industry in The Bahamas,” Gary beamed.
“We are bringing the industry back to Bahamian hands and proving that, yes, Bahamians have what it takes to compete on a global level.”
The recent expansion of the multimillion-dollar brewery facility in Grand Bahama and a competent 150-strong staff complete with a cadre of young managers helps to make that happen. Gary’s father, company visionary James “Jimmy” Sands remains as President, but several industry veterans who joined the company with him in various management positions have now retired. This paved the way for what is now a new generation of bright, young leaders who soaked up the wisdom of the elders and combined it with innovation and technological know-how.
“One of the greatest feelings working at Bahamian Brewery and Beverage is doing what people said was the impossible,” Gary says, “By going against the second largest multi-national brewery in the world which produces competing beers in The Bahamas.”
The Bahamian Brewery and Beverage has discovered the key components to maintaining a successful business for decades to come. It starts with the Sands dynasty – generations of entrepreneurs making their mark in The Bahamas since 1648.
Gary’s grandfather Everette Sands, the patriarch of Bahamian Brewery who passed away this year at the age of 94, left a great legacy in the beverage industry for his descendants. He was a hard-working young man with a dream back in his day, and he competed against the largest liquor business, owned by one of if not the most powerful politician in the country. Everette started with his first shipment coming right out of his mother-in-law’s garage. His sons John and James (Jimmy) helped their dad in his stores from a very young age, learning how to do everything from sweeping the floors to packing boxes.
When Jimmy launched his vision for Sands beer, he applied all of the life lessons his father had taught him. He, too, had to come up against the leading selling beer in The Bahamas at the time, which was not an easy task. Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits liquor stores continue to grow, and the Sands Beer family line includes Sands Regular, Sands Light, High Rock Lager, Sands Pink Radler, Strong Back Stout, Bush Crack, 66 Steps Ale, and Triple B malt drink.
“I love my new role in the company as General Manager,” says Gary, who, like his father, learned the business from the ground up.
“I love the fast pace and ever-changing industry that doesn’t allow me to get content. It matches my lifestyle of always being on the move.”
Bahamian Brewery and Beverage has won numerous awards including from the Monde Selection – Grand Gold, Gold and Silver awards. It was awarded the AB InBev exclusive distributorship of Anheuser Busch line of products including Budweiser, Bud Light, and Presidente. The most recent acquisition of the Philip Morris International (PMI) brands solidifies a partnership with a leading international tobacco company that has products, including Marlboro, the world’s top-selling brand. The company also distributes a full complement of wines and spirits including popular brands such as the Jackson Family Wines, Decero wines, Tito’s vodka, and Flor de Cana rums.
Bahamian Brewery and Beverage is also known for constantly giving back to the community through various projects, including its “Drink Pink” Campaign in the fight against cancer. Its happy customers have traveled all over the world as winners of various promotions, including FIFA’s World Cup in Russia last year.
The Sands family has proven that a solid legacy built on hard work and sheer determination, along with a commitment to product value, staff and customer satisfaction, are the right ingredients to brew up a business that will stand the test of time.